Huskies lose shootout against SMU

The Day - - LOCAL SPORTS - By PAT EATON-ROBB

East Hart­ford — SMU has all its run­ning backs healthy and the Mus­tangs may just rush their way into a bowl game.

Ke'Mon Free­man and Xavier Jones each ran for more than 100 yards and com­bined for five touch­downs as SMU outscored UConn 62-50 on Satur­day at Ren- schler Field in the Amer­i­can Ath­letic Con­fer­ence.

Ben Hicks threw for 276 yards and a score for the Mus­tangs (5-5, 4-2), who are at .500 for the first time this sea­son.

"We told (the de­fense), 'We got you all's back,'" Jones said. "We told them, 'They can't stop us. If you can't get them off the field, we're go­ing to keep scor­ing, so we'll just outscore them.' That's what we did."

Af­ter an 0-3 start, SMU is now one game away from be­ing bowl el­i­gi­ble.

"We got hun­gry," Jones said. "Ev­ery week we got bet­ter. We're one win away from be­ing bowl el­i­gi­ble, but shoot, we're still plan­ning on play­ing for the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship."

UConn stayed in the game thanks to quar­ter­back David Pin­dell. He threw for 215 yards and four touch­downs ran for 181 yards and two oth­ers. He be­comes first Husky quar­ter­back to ever to rush for 1,000 yards in a sea­son and the first UConn player to do it since tail­back Lyle McCombs in 2011.

Kevin Men­sah ran the ball 28 times for 184 yards and a score for UConn (1-9, 0-6).

The teams com­bined for 1,174 yards of of­fense, 680 on the ground.

SMU's first five drives ended in scores and the Mus­tangs led 31-10 at the half. UConn scored 40 points af­ter in­ter­mis­sion, but could not stop the Mus­tangs from an­swer­ing.

"I'm proud of the team be­cause they didn't give up," Pin­dell said. "They kept fight­ing and they gave us a chance to win."

Free­man (116 yards) had first-quar­ter touch­down runs of 39 and 5 yards and added a 3-yard score in the fourth quar­ter. Jones (133 yards) had sec­ond-half touch­down runs of 52 and 43 yards.

The Mus­tangs also broke out a few trick plays. Re­ceiver Tyler Page took a pitch then threw a 3-yard TD to tight end Ryan Becker to make it 24-7. A 46-yard flea-flicker and a one-handed catch from James Proche, set up a Brae­den West rush­ing touch­down.

Free­man has bat­tled a shoul­der in­jury this sea­son and Jones has strug­gled with leg is­sues.

"That was a big deal, hav­ing them back healthy," said coach Sonny Dykes.

UConn, which has given up more than 50 points six times this sea­son and 49 points in two other games, hasn't beaten an FBS team since Oc­to­ber of last year.

STEPHEN DUNN/AP PHOTO

UConn run­ning back Kevin Men­sah (34) eludes SMU’s Robert Hayes Jr. to run for a fourth-quar­ter touch­down dur­ing the Huskies’ 62-50 loss to the Mus­tangs on Satur­day at Rentschler Field. Men­sah rushed for 184 yards on 28 car­ries.

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